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5 must-watch movies and TV shows streaming right now

Boston.com logo Boston.com 7/8/2022 Kevin Slane
Paul Walter Hauser, left, as Larry, and Taron Egerton as Jimmy in "Black Bird." MUST CREDIT: Apple TV Plus © Apple TV Plus Paul Walter Hauser, left, as Larry, and Taron Egerton as Jimmy in "Black Bird." MUST CREDIT: Apple TV Plus

Welcome to Boston.com’s weekly streaming guide. Each week, we recommend five must-watch movies and TV shows available on streaming platforms like NetflixHuluAmazon PrimeDisney+HBO Max, and more.

Many recommendations are for new shows, while others are for under-the-radar releases you might have missed or classics that are about to depart a streaming service at the end of the month.

Replay Video

Have a new favorite movie or show you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments, or email kevin.slane@boston.com. Looking for even more great streaming options? Check out previous editions of our must-see list here.

Movies

Replay Video

“Brian’s Song”

Following news on Thursday of actor James Caan’s death at the age of 82, it’s a fitting time to revisit one of the actor’s earliest works. Caan made a career of playing tough guys who weren’t afraid to show audiences a more vulnerable side, starting with “Brian’s Song,” a 1971 ABC made-for-TV movie about the real-life friendship between Chicago Bears running backs Brian Piccolo (Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams, “The Empire Strikes Back”). The easy rapport between the two actors, playing the first interracial roommates in NFL history, sells the film on its own. But Caan’s deeply emotional final scenes are unmissable.

How to watch: “Brian’s Song” is available to rent or buy through AmazonApple TVGoogle Play, and other streaming platforms.

Replay Video

(A bonus sixth pick for this week’s list: If you want to watch Caan in “The Godfather,” it’s streaming on Paramount+.)

“Leviathan”

It’s borderline cliché to say that a movie is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. And yet, 10 years after its theatrical release, “Leviathan,” an immersive documentary about commercial fishing off the New Bedford coast, has yet to be imitated. Co-directors Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, outfitted a fishing vessel with dozens of GoPro-like cameras, capturing months of footage both aboard the ship and overboard in the nearby watery depths. The documentary is almost wordless, but the experience of “Leviathan” isn’t about a spoken narrative. Instead, it’s a sensory experience so vivid, you’ll swear you can smell the fish as you watch.

How to watch: “Leviathan” is streaming  Kanopy and Mubi, and is available to rent through Google Play and other streaming platforms.

“The Northman”

Director Robert Eggers burst onto the filmmaking scene in 2015 with “The Witch,” a supernatural horror film that also represented a breakthrough for star Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”). The New Hampshire native has leveled up in budget and scale for his third film, about a Viking prince (Alexander Skarsgard, “True Blood”) hellbent on revenge after the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke, “Training Day”). Like “The Witch,” “The Northman” is full of mottled gray landscapes and hints of the supernatural lurking below the surface. And like 2019’s “The Lighthouse,” “The Northman” tells a tale of male ego and the inevitability of violence when men are reduced to their most primitive instincts. With a supporting cast including Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”), and Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”), “The Northman” is a sword-slashing, visually astounding epic that doesn’t shy away from grisly, sinewy violence.

Replay Video

How to watch: “The Northman” is streaming on Peacock Premium.

TV

“The Bear”

FX and Hulu head into the kitchen with this new comedy-drama, following Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White, “Shameless”), a young chef with fine dining experience who heads back to Chicago to run his family’s past-its-prime sandwich shop following his brother’s suicide. Like many FX shows, “The Bear” mines comedy from the darkest situations, and manages to nail the intricate dynamics of a restaurant’s inner workings and inevitable internecine conflicts. In addition to White, “The Bear” features winning turns from Ebon Moss-Bachrach (“Girls”), Ayo Edebiri (“Big Mouth”), and Abby Elliott (“Saturday Night Live”). Even though it’s an FX series, the entire first season debuted June 23 on Hulu, which means you can have your fill instantly.

How to watch: “The Bear” is streaming on Hulu.

“Black Bird”

Over the years, Dorchester native Dennis Lehane has had a number of his books adapted for the screen, most notably “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” For the Apple TV+ crime drama “Black Bird,” it’s Lehane doing the adaptation work, developing the show based on a 2010 autobiograhical novel by James Keene. Keene, played by Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”), is serving a 10-year prison sentence when he is given the chance to befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser, “I, Tonya”) in order to elicit a confession before Hall is released. The first two episodes, which debuted July 8, have already teed up the unsettling cat-and-mouse game between Egerton and Hauser, supported by turns from Sepideh Moafi (“The Deuce”),Greg Kinner (“As Good As It Gets”), and the late Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”).

How to watch: “Black Bird” is streaming on Apple TV+, with new episodes debuting every Friday.

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